Happy Halloween!

31 10 2009

Yes, I still carve pumpkins...


It’s Time to Protest!

29 10 2009

You may have already seen this/heard this somewhere:

¡Climate Chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet!

I’d like to say I was disgusted by this, but the sad fact is, it’s not really all that surprising anymore.  Indeed, such crazy statements are a hallmark of the green movement, and, more broadly, the entire progressive movement.  For being the most freethinking, open-minded, and multicultural group of people on the planet, they sure like to tell us what to do.

But it got me thinking.  See, last Wednesday, as part of our “Liberty on the Diag” event, the College Libertarians handed out free cigarettes to protest the smoking ban.  It really raised awareness of the coming (in 2011) ban, something a surprising number of students had no idea about.  Even the nonsmoking students, who declined the free cigarettes, were mostly shocked and appalled that the university would attempt to ban all tobacco product use across the entire campus.  So now we’re gathering support to stop the ban from being implemented.

But let’s say the dunderheaded administration pushes the ban through.  What’s the most effective way to protest it?  You might think sit-ins, takeovers of university buildings, protests and “hey-hey ho-ho” chants, at first.  Then you’ll realize: that’s exactly what how the University administration fought The Man in the 60’s, before they utterly sold out and became fun-sucking suits.



Totally played out.


No, the best way to really get in these cretins’ faces is to just keep doing what you would normally do.  That will aggravate their pea-sized minds to no end—after all, they’re the authority figures now, and we had better listen to them!  My mind delights in the histrionics that will occur after students go on smoking on campus should the ban be passed.  Mindless chanting is easy to tune out, but living your life free of their senseless rules is the best way to get under their skin.

The same applies to this meat/global warming nonsense.  Someone urging you not eat beef for the sake of Gaia?  Tuck into a nice steak dinner.  The more cows we eat, the less there are to emit greenhouse gasses, right?



Yes, I'll have the strip steak with a side of potaoes and FREEDOM, please.

The best thing about this type of protest is that it’s pretty much passive.  In other words, it’s eminently suited to our sedentary culture.  Staging a 60’s-style march involves making signs, thinking up slogans and chants, and dealing with unwashed hippies; my preferred style of protest involves eating meat, enjoying life, and occasionally stoking my Eternal Tire Fire.

I hope you’ll join me.


See if you can read this with a straight face

28 10 2009

From Real Clear Politics:

“First of all, I don’t think people quite understand, Nancy Pelosi is not simply the first woman Speaker of the House — I think she’s going to go down as one of the greatest Speakers of all time. And she’s very nice and she’s very friendly, but, boy, she is tough.”

I realize that Obama is the greatest writer and speaker since Julius Caesar, but even his silver-tongued eloquence and stunning, thrill-up-leg command of the English language can’t mask the sheer absurdity of the above statement.

I mean, I don’t think anybody likes Nancy Pelosi.  Sure, they may like her ideals, but…


…well, that’s not the face of actual human being.  It’s the botox-ridden visage of a hollow husk animated solely by lust for power, partisan hackery, and the desire to make sure you aren’t having any fun because she’s probably incapable of having any herself.  Have you seen her approval ratings lately?

Keep up the good work, Obama.  The more statements like the above that you make, the easier it will be to tie you and your policies to the Greatest Speaker of All Time®.

The Trip Up North

26 10 2009

I’m sure glad I took that trip up north over fall break—last week was intense.  Wednesday, the first day back at school, the College Libertarians and Young Americans for Freedom (as well as almost a half dozen other liberty-minded groups) took over the Diag.  We got a lot of exposure and sparked a lot of interest in our organizations and ideals.

But more on the trip to the UP…

My dad and I got a characteristically late start, not getting to Naubinway until after midnight Friday.  Saturday, we eventually made our way to the abandoned karst quarry.

John Galt was here

John Galt was here?

Shooting was good, while it lasted:

It's about fifty or sixty yards away.

The target is about fifty or sixty yards away, on a mound of slag.

It’s tough to get a grasp of how desolate the area is without being there.  It’s kind of creepy, to be honest; “moonscape” doesn’t quite sum it up, since there are trees and moss growing from the mounds of crushed rock.  Large, shallow pools and a few little streams dotted landscape.

Anyway, I was informed by some hikers of a better place to shoot, where I wouldn’t have to worry about splintering karst and ricocheting bullets increasing my risk of a lawsuit.  There was a sand pit in nearby Trout Lake that served as a semi-official makeshift shooting range.


En route to Trout Lake?

Of course, it was right behind a baseball diamond and the community center, but they do things differently up north.


This is about as scenic as shooting ranges get...

All in all, I put a few hundred rounds down range over the course of the weekend.  I feel a lot more comfortable with the operation of my AR-15, so I’d like to start working more intensely on marksmanship when I get a chance.  The 10/22 sight system is still just as confounding to me as ever, so I’d eventually like to put AR-15 style sights on just for consistency.

And I bought and fired a couple of 1 oz. lead slugs out of the shotgun, just to see what it was like—and it was quite an experience.  Even with just the simple bead sight on the end of my 28″ barrel, the slugs were remarkably accurate and my shot placement was consistent.  I know I realistically need a shorter slug barrel, but they’re a bit of an investment.  I’m just glad to have finally fired something bigger than target load out of the shotgun; now that I realize that slugs are nothing to be afraid of (though my shoulder was sore for a few days) I’ll be a lot less hesitant to use heavier loads when I eventually go hunting.


The Wagoneer performed more or less flawlessly on and off road.

As always, it was a shame to leave the UP.  There’s a lot that needs to be done up there before winter really arrives:


You can't see it in this picture, but we got a decent amount of the firewood stacked; obviously, there's still a lot more to do.

It would be great to go up around Thanksgiving, or even just for a long weekend by myself.  It’s so tough to get any extracurricular reading done around here with all the distractions faced on a daily basis, and my stack of unread books is growing exponentially.  I never have class on Fridays, so I’ll have to check my calendar…


Fall sunset

Cider Mill

25 10 2009

This morning, before I went off to more or less write my story for the latest issue of the Michigan Review, Nina and I went to the Dexter Cider Mill.  It’s apparently the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the state of Michigan.  Clearly they know what they’re doing, as the place was packed at 11:30 or so.

It doesn't look like much from street level...

It doesn't look like much from street level...but apparently they've got free wine tasting, so you know it's a class establishment.

This is the second time I’ve been to the mill.  It’s stuck more or less on the edge of Dexter, which looks very quaint, I guess.  I imagine it’s what Ann Arbor looked like before the subsequent waves of invading academics and yuppies took the place over.

For some reason, I always pictured cider mills being set in apple orchards, but now that I think about it, that doesn’t really make much sense.  Back in the day, you needed flowing water to power the mill, so unless you had a prime riverfront orchard, I doubt you’d be able to have the mill and orchard side by side.  Then again, I don’t know much about the history of Dexter.  The mill could have been in the middle of an orchard before the area “developed.”

Whoever designed the place was apparently more interested in making great cider than putting up a quaint looking facade.

Whoever designed the place was apparently more interested in making great cider than putting up a quaint-looking facade.

We got fresh donuts and hot cider, and I got a half gallon to take back.  Everything was great.  Somehow the donuts tasted light and not too sweet; I guess the brown paper bag they came in absorbed all of the grease…

IMG_1367View out back. It was a bit cloudy in the morning, but ended up being a nice fall day.

No, I didn’t take any pictures of the interior.  Or any pictures of me or Nina.  I’m just getting used to actually using my camera and I’ve discovered that it takes pretty decent pictures, so give me some time.  Besides, Dexter is only twenty minutes or so (maybe a bit less) from Ann Arbor, so I can probably be persuaded to go back for more cider and donuts before the season ends mid-November.

Breaking: Campus Pinball Burns

25 10 2009

After hearing incessant sirens beginning around 10:00 or 10:30 Saturday night, a couple of guys and I decided to get out of the fraternity house and see if we could find out what all the commotion was.  We were expecting to have to drive to find the accident/fire/natural disaster in the making…but it ended up being right down the street from us.

The old Campus Pinball building, next to the massive University Towers apartment complex and across the street from Pinball Pete’s (probably only helpful if you have any idea where any of these things are) was still burning hot when my group arrived at 11:30.  There were throngs of drunken students mixed in with the curious.

You’d think something significant was actually going on by the size of the crowd—after all, it was just a building that had been abandoned since I’ve been going to school here going up in smoke.  It was probably housing a meth lab, or a bunch of hoboes incapable of safely building a fire indoors, or the property owner wanted the insurance money.  As far as I know, noone was injured in the fire…

In any case, I managed to take some pictures.  My camera isn’t meant for this kind of work, but I think they came out pretty well all things considered:

South University was packed.

South University was packed.

The fire seemed contained when I showed up, but it flared up again several times over the next hour.

There were at least half a dozen rigs present, not to mention the police cars, ambulances, etc.

There were at least half a dozen rigs present, not to mention the police cars, ambulances, etc.

I didn't catch any of the big initial flareups, but the flames proved fairly diffcult to tame.

I didn't catch any of the big initial flareups, but the flames proved fairly difficult to tame.

You can see how densely packed the area is...

You can see how densely packed the street is...

I eventually moved up to the roof of a nearby (South Forrest) parking structure.  Seven stories up, I had a decent, if a little distant, view.  By that time, the fire department had decided to move a pumper truck onto the roof of another parking structure, located behind the burning building, in order to dump water directly through the former roof area.

Kind of spooky. The searchlights are from the pumper on the roof of the garage.

Kind of spooky. The searchlights are from the pumper on the roof of the garage.

By 12:30, the fire appeared to have been more or less defeated (a good thing, too, because, in the words of one of the many people on the roof of the parking garage, “this fire has gotten pretty boring, I’m going to head back to the party.  We should have brought the beer up here.”).  Firefighters began entering the building at this point.  I couldn’t get a good shot, but there wasn’t much to see…

Hopefully, no one was injured in the fire.  Chances are, the building that burned would have been razed as soon as the economy picked up; it was rather dilapidated and has not been occupied for years.

And I just can’t wait to hear about this event four million times over the next few weeks.

Headed up North

16 10 2009

My dad and I are headed up to Naubinway this evening. I’m looking forward to a weekend of target practice and stacking firewood (no, really, it’s satisfying).

In a rare bit of synchronicity, my camera and battery charger are in the same place at the same time (my backpack, to be specific) so fortunately for both you and posterity there will be some pictures of whatever I end up doing.